NFL teams with records that mirror each other will match up on Sunday when the Chicago Bears pay a visit to the Big Apple to play the New York Giants. The Bears (8-3) are enjoying a six-game winning streak, their longest since 2012. The Giants (3-8) saw their modest two-game winning streak come to an end with a 25-22 loss in Philadelphia last Sunday.
Over these last six games, Chicago has outscored opponents 147-77, beating three divisional teams (Detroit twice and Minnesota) along the way to increase their lead in the NFC North to two games. With matchups against Green Bay and Minnesota still on the schedule, as well as a visit from the Los Angeles Rams for "Sunday Night Football" next week, the Bears cannot afford to lose focus against a struggling team like the Giants.
New York is just looking for any sort of positive momentum, as the Giant' three wins this season have come against the Texans, 49ers and Buccaneers. Houston is leading the AFC South with an 8-3 record but those other two teams have gone a combined 6-16 this season. For New York, much of the focus has already shifted to next season but that doesn't mean the Giants won't be looking on Sunday to get in the way of the Bears' postseason push.
Chicago at New York
Kickoff: Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. ET
Spread: Bears -4.0
Three Things to Watch
1. Another Chase Daniel sighting?
Mitchell Trubisky is still considered day-to-day with the shoulder injury he sustained against Minnesota two weeks ago, but the word out of Halas Hall is that it isn’t a serious issue. At the same time, the Bears want to make sure that Trubisky is 100 percent for next week’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, as the "Sunday Night Football" matchup could also be a playoff preview. So it's entirely possible that Daniel gets another start to give Trubisky even more time to rest and recover.
Daniel showed last week that he's up to the task, completing 27 of his 37 pass attempts for 230 yards and two touchdowns in Chicago's 23-16 win in Detroit on Thanksgiving. The four sacks he took may seem high, but he completed 73 percent of his passes and posted a passer rating of 106.8 in his first start since 2014. Daniel was signed as Trubisky's backup this offseason because of his familiarity with head coach Matt Nagy's offense during their time in Kansas City and that relationship paid off last week.
New York ranks 23rd in the NFL in total defense (377.8 ypg) and 25th in scoring (26.2 ppg) so this looks like a good matchup to call on Daniel again should the Bears decide to give Trubisky another week off.
2. Don’t forget about Eli Manning
At 37 years of age, and despite some fans calling for his retirement or removal as the starter, Manning is putting together a solid season. He's completing 69.1 percent of his passes, which would be a career-best mark by far (63.1 in 2014). He's on pace for 4,500 passing yards, which would be the most in a season since 2011 and his 2:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (14:7) is his best since he tossed a career-high 35 TDs (with 14 picks) in '15.
Manning may not be the Pro Bowl-caliber player he was earlier in his career, but he's far from being the Giants' biggest issue this season either. Chicago has done a solid job in defending the pass with more interceptions (20) than touchdown passes allowed (19), but the Bears know that they have to be at their best against Manning, especially with the weapons he has at his disposal.
3. The dynamic duo of Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr.
Even though the Giants have struggled, can you imagine this team without their top two playmakers? Barkley has been everything New York expected and more after taking him second overall in the draft, while Beckham has shown more accountability while continuing to produce after signing a five-year, $95 million contract extension prior to the start of the season.
The duo represents a significant chunk of the Giants' offense, combining for 1,598 receiving yards, 848 rushing and 17 total touchdowns. Barkley is fourth in the league in rushing and tied for 10th in receptions with 71. He's on pace to break Matt Forte's single-season record of 102 catches by a running back.
Beckham is eighth in the league in receptions (74), fourth in targets (115) and ninth in yards (1,017). He may have just five touchdowns so far, but his catches have produced 49 first downs (tied for sixth among WRs). ODB also threw a touchdown pass earlier this year.
Chicago enters this game ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense (316.1 ypg) and second against the run (80.8 ypg). You know the Bears are going to account for Barkley and Beckham at all times so it should be an entertaining matchup between the Giants' two studs and the new Monsters of the Midway.
Chicago is red hot right now, winners of six in a row and getting the job done both at home and on the road. New York is struggling and even if Chase Daniel makes another start at quarterback for an ailing Mitchell Trubisky, expect Bears head coach Matt Nagy to come up with a game plan that suits Daniel's skill set. Chicago has been winning games with both defense and offense and even though the Giants boast some impressive playmakers, the Bears shouldn't have too much trouble limiting the damage done by the likes of Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. Chicago extends its winning streak to seven while the Giants improve their draft positioning with another loss.
Prediction: Bears 24, Giants 13
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.